Hidden Debit Card Charges Deceptively Forced Upon Minority Consumers Purchasing Gasoline

Minority Neighborhood Gas Pumps Favor Debit Card Purchases Over ‘No Fee’ Credit Card Buys - Ortiz Experiences Discriminatory Sales Practice Firsthand
August 14, 2003
Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) is outraged by the discriminatory way gasoline is being sold at the pump in minority communities, forcing consumers to unknowingly purchase gasoline with a debit card that carries a user’s fee.

Ortiz has discovered firsthand and from reports from his constituents that when consumers pay for gasoline at the pump with their credit card, the payment is refused. But if the purchase is made with a debit card that imposes an additional fee, only then is the payment accepted. For Ortiz, what makes this sales policy so unbelievable is that consumers do not learn about the additional charges until they receive their monthly bank statement.

“This scam against minority communities is forcing our consumers to pay hidden, higher gasoline prices through extra charges that would not be tolerated in any way, shape or form in non-minority neighborhoods in New York City or any where else. It is a deceptive practice that aims to squeeze more hard-earned cash out of the unwitting minority consumer,” said Ortiz.

“Our communities can not be victimized by unscrupulous gasoline vendors any longer. I am meeting with state and city officials to determine what action will be taken to stop this despicable sales policy that sticks minorities with hidden gasoline charges,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz is investigating whether the current laws can effectively protect consumers from these hidden charges and plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit fees on consumer debit card charges.